Lessons from My Reading

M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Can A Terrible Accident Turn into a Fluffy Murder?

Of course it can. 
That's what cozy mysteries are all about.
I'm guessing people like them because
They make the horrendous neat and tidy, even pleasant. 
Fluffy.

    The book I'm reading this week is non-fiction about the Dark Ages of Europe. So, I'm talking about the mystery I finished last Sunday, cozy mysteries being one of my favorite forms of fantasy. 

   Cozies are known for their light touch with murder and mayhem. Why do I say this? Because I can't remember one that's gets into the messy process of grieving. Lorna Barrett's Sentenced to Death provides a perfect example. Oh, the main character feels sad and impelled to investigate. But no writer even gets close to the raw emotions that even a hard-boiled egg like me feels when losing a friend. 

   On the craft level, Sentenced to Death gives the reader a fast moving plot, an engaging cast of characters, and a delightful little New England town filled with small shops, including bookstores. And, ranks high is reader satisfaction. What's not to like? Everyone, except perhaps the villains, are pleasant.

   Result? I couldn't shake the thought that the book provided a perfect illustration for the phrase "once again lightly". Not that the book was badly written. I just didn't find anything memorable, except maybe the opening scene when a plane dropped from the sky and killed the main character's best friend. That's a solid hook if I ever saw one.

    The plot was so well constructed, it kept pulling me along, in spite of my wrinkled nose. Want twists and turns that jump from one complication to another until another murder needs to be solved? Ya got it. And, the clues are well embedded in the details of the villains' lives as they are unearthed by Tricia Miles, mystery book seller extraodinaire. In fact the plot reminded me of reading Agatha Christie, only with a younger, American "Miss Marple".

   The depiction of the characters got to me, like sand paper. I'd spend never more than fifteen minutes with the actual types of people depicted in the book, however well-rounded they are. The one exception is the main character's sister, but she annoyed me too. Didn't think she had her sister's back enough.

   This is the fifth book in a successful series which has a couple well-received additions since 2011, but I found the protagonist flat. So, she stressed out by the men in her life. But, she dithers. Eeeewww. She does have a nice cat, though.

   Again a summer read, mostly for fans of cozy mysteries. The plot and the writing overcome the overuse of conventions.

You can read excerpts and more reviews at  
Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  

~~~#~~~
My Writing Rut 

    Am I making progress yet? Did get Vengeance to the copy editor and have my appointment with the formatter. Now I have to decide whether to have pre-orders. For a novelette, aka long short story. There's the rub. In short, I'm staring at the marketing tar pit and finding it unattractive. Guess I'll try pre-orders just to see what happens. [That's how I'm feeling today.]

I am looking for reviews. 
 Hint. Hint

   If anyone reading is interested, I should have a PDF copy by mid-August. You can email me at mkkaytheod at yahoo to get on the list for me to mail it to you. If you have a book review blog so much the better.  
My current blurb:

    After four centuries of political infighting with Linden, the ruler of the Marches, all Mariah wants is a little peace and quiet. Then, her daughter's family is attacked by enemy privateers, leaving Norerah at death's door. Mariah’s anger boils over. Ashton, her ring-mate, and Mariah seek vengeance, ignoring Linden’s decrees, only to discover a strange magic that threatens every thing the three Half-Elven hold dear.  

 
   On the Run? Would you believe I'm revising? Even tacked a new paragraph onto the beginning to set the emotions of Pillar, my main character. Yeah, I tend to be short on my characters reactions until my critique group yanks my chain. Look for a new installment of the On the Run wip. I should get it added when I clean up my author website some more. Give it a look if you want to check out longer versions of my estories.



Yeah, I'm getting sick of playing with my author website.
It's like getting immersed in quicksand.
Have you tamed your website? 


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